Friday, 17 August 2012

National List of Essential Medicines 2011

Essential medicines are those that satisfy the priority healthcare needs of majority of the population. The essential medicines list is country specific to address the disease burden of the nation. The concept of essential medicines, first introduced by WHO in 1977.

The primary purpose of NLEM is to promote rational use of medicines considering the three important aspects i.e. cost, safety and efficacy.

  • includes commonly used  medicines at primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare levels; medicines used in the various national health programmes, emerging and reemerging infections should be addressed in the list. 
  • The medicines in National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) should be available at affordable costs and with assured quality. 
  • promotes prescription by generic name.
  • A total of 348 medicines are present in NLEM 2011.

Benefits of a NLEM:
  1. Careful selection of a limited range of essential medicines results in a higher quality of care, better management of medicines and more cost-effective use of health resources.
  2. The list of essential medicines guides the hospital drug policies, procurement and supply of medicines in public sector, medicine cost reimbursement and medicine donations. 
  3. It helps in monitoring the pricing of medicines. 
  4. The list serves as a reference document for correct dosage form and strength for prescribing. Hence use of NLEM is expected to improve prescribing practices as well as the health outcomes. 
  5. The appropriate use of medicines selected in the NLEM promotes rational use of medicines. Such rational use of medicines, especially antimicrobial drugs, reduces development of drug resistance. 
  6. The list also serves as a reference for assessing the healthcare access of the populace. 
  7. Lastly, NLEm serves as a tool for public education and training of healthcare providers. 

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